Why do Edibles Take so Long to Work?

Someone picks an edible gummy out of a Botany Farms jar.

Eating and cannabis are two of the greatest pleasures in life. So, the day cannabis edibles were first made, the planets probably aligned. Some cannabis edibles are simply delightful, and with all the new world of possibilities and delicious sweet treats, drinks, and exquisite cannabis dishes, more and more people are experimenting with this method of consuming cannabis. 

In fact, there is a whole new pro-edible movement, including restaurants that offer their guests the option of turning their favorite delicious dish into a therapeutic meal. But, not all organisms work the same, and the preparation of a cannabis treat or recipe can vary greatly depending on the methods used. This is why edibles may be an excellent option for some people but not the best choice for others. 

Among users who have tried cannabis-infused edibles but have not fared as well as expected, there is one prevalent question.

Why do edibles not work on me?

There are people for whom smoking or inhaling vapor simply isn’t a viable option. There are others for whom it is merely a preferred option to consume cannabis in edible form since the high that this form of consumption offers is significantly different and even more potent than just smoking cannabis. 

But edibles can sometimes take too long to work for some people and do not work the same for everyone. In fact, there are people for whom edibles just don’t seem to work at all or don’t have the desired effect. 

There can be several reasons why cannabis-infused edibles don’t work for some people. Although these reasons may vary from person to person and from food to food, there are some general things to consider to understand why edibles do not work the same for some users. Some of the reasons why cannabis edibles don’t work sometimes are:

  • There is not enough cannabis in the preparation
  • Using the wrong type of cannabis
  • Your body metabolizes THC very quickly
  • You ate the edible on an empty stomach
  • It may not be the best consumption option for you

Why aren’t my edibles working?

There can be several different reasons why your cannabis-infused edibles aren’t working. The dosage may have been too low, or the way the edible was processed or made was inappropriate. Sometimes the temperature at which we heat cannabis is not enough to decarboxylate the THC-A to THC; on the contrary, if the cannabis was overheated in the cooking process, the THC could have been degraded, and for this reason, it does not generate the desired effects. In addition to all this, to process ingested cannabis, it has to be metabolized in the liver.

Some people produce very little or none of the enzymes necessary to process cannabis in the liver, which could also be why you are not feeling the effects you expect, even after eating the best Delta-9 THC cannabis edibles available on the market.

Why do edibles hit harder?

Cannabis edibles hit harder because when we eat them, they enter they are processed through our digestive system rather than going straight to the bloodstream. The cannabinoids must pass through the stomach and liver before reaching our bloodstream and our brain, which is when we start to feel the effects of the cannabinoids. When we eat cannabis, our stomach and liver break down the Delta-9 THC into a more potent form called 11-Hydroxy-THC, a Delta-9 metabolite that only occurs when liver enzymes digest Delta-9 THC.

Although 11-Hydroxy-THC and Delta-9 have a very close relationship, they have differences that significantly influence the effects generated by each of these cannabinoids. In fact, 11-hydroxy-THC is responsible for making THC-rich cannabis edibles “hit harder.” This is because 11-hydroxy-THC can cross the blood-brain barrier significantly faster than Delta-9, and there is evidence to show that 11-hydroxy-THC has a quicker onset than Delta-9. In terms of effects, if we compare 11-hydroxy-THC vs. Delta-9 THC, there is also evidence to suggest that 11-hydroxy-THC might be more psychoactive than Delta-9.

Duration of edibles

The duration of effects of cannabis-infused edibles can be noticeably longer than the effects of cannabis when smoked, vaped, or consumed as a tincture. You will begin to feel the effects of THC-rich cannabis edibles take between 30 minutes to two hours, with a peak in the effects after around 4 hours, and can last up to 6 hours after ingestion. Usually, after 8 hours of ingesting the edibles, the effects begin to wear off, and they are almost unnoticeable after a day. Nonetheless, in some cases, residual effects can last up to 24 hours.

We’ve got a wide selection of Botany Farms gummies that are properly dosed so you know what to expect.

​Factors Affecting When Edibles Kick In

In general, the effects of cannabis when we consume it in edible form are quite different than when we simply smoke or vape cannabis. The effects of cannabis can even vary depending on how you choose to smoke it and the type of strain, extract, or even device you use to smoke your cannabis. 

The same goes for food in general. It would be a mistake to generalize about the effects of foods without considering a series of factors that can alter our final experience when eating them. The way they’re prepared and consumed can have a different effect on our body’s ability to digest them.

There are many different methods for making cannabis edibles, in addition to the large number of cannabis strains that currently exist that contain different cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Each of these factors can cause the effects of an edible to vary significantly even within the same edible batch when the conditions under which the preparation takes place are not precisely controlled. Nevertheless, we can consider some general factors to ensure we get the effects we expect from ingesting cannabis edibles. 

Some of these factors are:

Dosage

The amount of cannabis edible you ingest at one time can completely change the effects you’ll experience. This is why eating the correct edible dose is essential to obtain the desired outcome. 

Generally, 35 mg of any cannabinoid is what falls within the range of a “normal” dose. Most cannabis candy contains between 5 and 10mg. Based on this principle, if you only eat a 5 or 10mg cannabis gummy, you will most likely feel minimal effects. On the other hand, a baked cannabis edible typically contains between 75-100mg; depending on the tolerance of each user, that may be too much or even not enough. However, before eating an entire 100mg THC cookie, it is crucial to note that the effects of cannabis, when ingested, are more intense and last much longer than smoking or vaping and that over-ingesting edibles of THC is not a comfortable or pleasurable experience.

Body weight

This is one of the main reasons why some people need to consume more edibles or higher potency cannabis edibles in order to get the desired effects. Size matters when it comes to the dose of cannabis in relation to the effects. And we are not only talking about height but body weight. The lipid profile of each person can significantly influence our experience with foods because cannabinoids are usually deposited in fat. This means that the higher a person’s body fat percentage, the more likely they are to need higher doses of each cannabinoid to experience the same effects as a person with a lower body fat index.

Metabolism

Edibles work in a particular way and, unlike smoking, vaping, or taking tinctures, when we consume cannabis in edible form, our liver must metabolize the THC so that it reaches our bloodstream and we can begin to feel the effects that the THC generates. The CYP enzymes in your liver responsible for metabolizing THC can play a determining role in how we experience the high. A low or high CYP enzyme count can significantly change how our bodies digest THC and even cause it not to be metabolized at all.

Full vs Empty Stomach

Eating cannabis edibles on a full stomach is not the same as eating them on an empty stomach. Instead of feeling relaxed, taking edibles on an empty stomach can cause unpleasant anxiety. This is because ingesting edibles on an empty stomach can cause the THC to kick in faster and create unwanted effects. If this has happened to you, try to eat your edibles after eating a good full meal and drinking plenty of water. Doing this can slow the absorption of THC into your system a bit and keep you from being overwhelmed by the effects of THC when they hit you on an empty stomach.

Potency

One of the most common reasons cannabis edibles sometimes don’t work as expected is because they often don’t contain enough cannabis to produce the desired effects. Some people need larger doses of cannabis in their edibles to feel the effects they expect. So, if the amount of cannabis in your edible isn’t getting you the results you’re looking for, try gradually increasing the amount of cannabis you add to the preparation. You should also consider that edibles need to be digested and take a longer time to take effect. So you might want to wait a bit before upping the dose if you don’t immediately feel anything from your first dose.

Edible Type

This is another problem that is usually much more common than we would think, especially among enthusiastic or somewhat inexperienced users of cannabis. Not all edibles are the same, and the type of cannabis you use in the edible greatly influences your effects. There are types of cannabis that are high in THC. In contrast, others are high in CBD, and the percentage of cannabinoids that each strain contains can significantly influence the final experience you will get from consuming the edible. 

The gummies capable of generating psychoactive effects are the Delta-9 THC gummies. But, in this growing cannabis market, there are now many different edible options. There are also Delta-8 THC gummies, which generate psychoactive effects but with a lower intensity than the Delta-9 gummies. On the other hand, we also have CBD-infused gummies, which are also cannabis edibles and carry all the therapeutic benefits and medicinal value of the plant, but lack the psychoactive effects that Delta-9 and Delta-8 THC gummies have. So, depending on the type of cannabis used in your edible recipe of choice, the final experience can be completely different.

Cannabis Tolerance

Eating cannabis edibles when you have never used cannabis before is not the same as eating an edible after 20 years of being a regular cannabis user. The body generally builds up a tolerance to certain cannabinoids, especially when you are a regular user. With this in mind, if you’ve been a regular cannabis user for some time, it’s entirely normal for an edible not to hit you the same as your friend who’s trying them for the first time. Cannabis tolerance can tremendously influence your edible ingestion experience and is an essential factor to consider, especially when you’re not getting the expected effects.

Health risks of edibles

Edibles can be a great way to experience the effects of cannabis for some people but for others, it may not be the best or safest option. We must remember that each person’s physiology is unique and – especially with pre-existing conditions or other medications – some substances can generate unwanted reactions that can even be dangerous to our health.

In the case of cannabis edibles, there may be potential risks related primarily to overconsumption. But we must emphasize that not all these risks apply equally to all people and that, in case of any unwanted side effects, it is best to stop consumption and consult a specialist. Especially if the unwanted effect is prevalent or occurs every time, you ingest cannabis edibles. 

Some of the possible health risks related to edibles are:

  • There may be a potential risk of episodes of cannabis-induced paranoia, confusion, and in some cases, even hallucinations.
  • In older adults, in particular, there may be a correlation between cannabis and some cardiac events since cannabis affects the cardiovascular system, increases heart rate, and increases blood pressure.

A recent Canadian report shows that potential cannabis-related health risks can be specific to each age group. For example:

  • In young people, the described risks can include, panic attacks, and hyperemesis syndrome – a condition in which the main symptom is uncontrollable vomiting. Other potential long-term health risks associated with consistent cannabis use include impaired brain development and poor mental health – especially for those who are too young to consume cannabis in states where it is legal.
  • In older adults, excessive consumption of cannabis edibles or the wrong dose may involve risks such as increased cognitive decline, cardiac arrhythmia, increased risk of falls, and interactions between different drugs that can cause unwanted effects.

​What are the side effects of an edible?

Apart from the health risks related to people with previous conditions or in positions of risk using cannabis, very frequent cannabis use, or prolonged consumption, there may be other very common side effects that can occur sometimes. Especially when there is an overconsumption of cannabis edible due to excessive dose or very low tolerance to THC, there can be side effects like:

  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Paranoia
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Agitation
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Hallucinations

Edibles vs smoking pros and cons

We could say that each consumption method has its advantages and disadvantages depending on your point of view. Choosing whether to smoke cannabis or ingest it in edible form depends on each user’s needs, preferences, and personal point of view.

Practicality

Pros

  • Smoking remains one of the favorite methods of consumption for most cannabis users worldwide. Many users simply like to take some time to relax, smoke a joint, and enjoy the effects of cannabis.
  • Edibles present a different and much more discreet option than smoking, as no one is likely to notice that your candy, drink, or food is cannabis-infused unless they read the package or you tell them. Edibles don’t have to fill the room with smoke or permeate the entire space with the smell of cannabis to get the desired effects. Another great advantage of edibles is that, with their growing popularity and demand, you can now buy edibles online very quickly or get them almost anywhere and with a variety of options.

Cons

  • Smoking is usually not the most practical way to consume cannabis on some occasions since it involves assembling the joint and looking for a place to smoke it.

 

  • Edibles usually require more elaborate storage methods since most are more sensitive to heat or other conditions than joints, they can be damaged, they take longer to take effect, and can last longer than you would like to be high.

Effectiveness

Pros

  • Smoking usually gives a stable high that is easier to control since you feel the effects of cannabis as you smoke.

 

  • Edibles take a bit longer to kick in, but they are really effective and potent. In fact, for some users with specific conditions, edibles represent a much more effective option than the act of smoking. Additionally, there is evidence showing that sex on edibles could be significantly better for some people.

Cons

  • Smoking may not always produce the effects that some users seek. Especially users with more severe conditions that require higher doses.
  • Edibles can have different effects than smoking cannabis, which may not be ideal for some users. It is important to note that the method of cannabis use can vary tremendously from each person’s experience.

Potency

Pros

  • Smoking cannabis has a controllable potency that you can measure with each puff. That potency mostly depends on the cannabinoid percentage and terpene profile of the cannabis strain or extract you choose to smoke.
  • Edibles are significantly more potent than smoking as the liver metabolizing process before cannabinoids reach your bloodstream increases the bioavailability of cannabinoids, increasing the edible’s potency.

Cons

  • Smoking may not be potent enough for some users with high tolerance to THC or some users with more severe conditions with treatments that require higher doses.
  • Edibles can have high psychoactive potency and are very difficult to measure as effects can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in. Also, after you ingest the edible, you can’t do much more than wait for the effects to wear off.

Risks

Pros

  • Smoking has slightly milder and definitely more measurable and manageable effects than edibles, and because of this, it poses less risk of unwanted side effects.
  • Edibles do not generate combustion residues or generate substances harmful to the lungs and generally come in packages that clearly indicate exactly how much cannabis they contain.

Cons

  • Smoking is harmful to health; it generates toxic substances and combustion residues that lead to health risks in the medium and long term. It can be highly irritating to the throat. For some people with respiratory conditions, it is simply not an option.

Edibles present a greater risk in many cases since they generate significantly more powerful effects. This can even become really dangerous for patients with some previous risk conditions. Therefore, the ideal when eating edibles is to take precautions regarding the dose and tolerance of each user to avoid uncomfortable or even dangerous situations.

Thanks for stopping by! If edibles just aren’t your thing, why not ‘roll’ into our shop and give a pre roll a try?

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